posted by admin on Airlines, Destination Wedding Tour, Destination Weddings, Travel Tips

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Airlines have cut back on the services offered. You can still have a comfortable flight by planning ahead.
1. Medications.
Bring your medications in the original containers if possible. I have also brought the doctor’s written prescription when I didn’t have the container. Liquid medications still have to abide by the 3-1-1 rule. If in doubt you can check the TSA website as or call the airlines. Always have your medications with you because your flight can be delayed or worse yet your checked bag can be lost. You can also put toiletries in your carry on also. I like to have a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. You can buy these things after you have gone through security.
Things to Do
I read that flying forces us to have personal time. People use their forced personal time in different ways with some people napping, some reading and some listening to music or playing games. Since the airlines doesn’t provide many of the things you want bring them with you. Bring your earphones, IPOD, IPAD or laptop. Just remember to charge your electronic devices before you start on your trip. Also bring your chargers with you so you can enjoy the return flight.
Snacks, Meals and Drinks
The airlines doesn’t provide food and snacks like they used to. One bag of pretzels will not hold you on a cross country flight. I always travel with trail mix and dried food in unopened bags. To save money I buy a sandwich and a large water after I pass through security. Be courteous to your fellow passengers by not bringing smelly food on board. I read that fried chicken was one of the worst offenders.
Be Comfortable
Because pillows and blankets are not passed out anymore plan ahead for your own comfort. If you are going to be reading bring a neck pillow. Since the cabin can be chilly I bring a sweater and a pair of socks. Even if you are headed to a tropical destination the cabin can be chilly.
Credit Cards
If you want to purchase anything on your flight the airlines no longer accept cash. So make sure your credit card is handy.

posted by admin on Destination Weddings, Travel Tips, Uncategorized, Wedding Tips

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Wedding Planner

Am I obligated to pay the travel expenses for my bridal party and/or family when I have a destination wedding?

This is a good question that should be discussed as a couple even before you announce you are planning to have a destination wedding.
Three things to Discuss in the conversation would be:
1. Deal breaker. Is there someone in your family or your BFF that is so important you would change your wedding plans if they could not afford to attend? So make up a list of the most important people on your guest list so you can consider that possibility.
2. Budget. Look at your budget realistically to see if you can afford to help pay anyone’s travel expenses. Remember you already are paying for the wedding and the reception as well as your own travel expenses.
3. Guilt. Will you feel guilty asking your family and friends to pay several thousand dollars per person to attend your wedding? It depends on how you look at because the other part of the picture is that your family and friends are going to have a wonderful vacation as a group. Most families and friends do not travel together but it is really fun to hang out and do things together. The benefit is no one is playing host or hostess to the group each day.

I have worked with couples planning destination weddings since 1999. I have seen couples work out helping their families and friends in many ways. I will share with you the two most popular ways that I see couples helping financially.
1. Discount. Many couples help by giving some what we call a family discount. This discount can be applied to any guest or family member. I have worked with couples who call it a “family discount” or a “bridal party discount.” What this means is that they put money towards the total. The selected person doesn’t actually know their true total because I give them the total after the discount. The discount is typically 100 to 150 dollars. So for example if the brides maids room total was $1000 a person. I would tell them that they get a bridal party discount so their total is $900. Most of the time the guests do not compare room rates so they don’t know the exact amount that was paid.
2. Group Amenities. Many wedding couples I work with sign a group contract for the guest rooms. This gives them the rooms they need at a contracted rate. It protects against price increases and many times offers guests a payment plan. But I always ask what group amenities will be offered to the Bride and Groom. Most of the time the amenities are either room upgrades or free nights. The couple then can share the amenities with their group.
Whether or not you pay anything towards the travel expenses of your family or guests is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer. You know your family and friends best and that will help you in your decision.

posted by admin on Destination Bridal Tours, Destination Wedding Tour, Destination Weddings, Engagement, Travel Tips, Wedding Tips

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Engagement ring

You are engaged! Of course you are so excited! So the first thing you are going to do is announce your engagement to your family and friends! A small tip is to get your nails done because everyone is going to be looking at your ring.

When you announce your engagement the two most frequently asked questions will be “have you set the date?” And “where will you get married?”

There is nothing wrong with enjoying the bliss of being newly engaged and responding I don’t know yet.

One of the first things to do should be spending time as a couple to discuss your budget. It is a good idea to start the discussion right away even though realistically it will be a series of discussions. If the two of you are paying for your wedding it is good to be on the same page throughout the planning process. You will have different opinions and priorities. I think a good place to start is if each of you write down your top 3 (or pick your own number) priorities.
Here is an example:

You, as the bride, choose your dress, the venue and the caterer while your groom selects the venue, music and honeymoon. This helps you set your priorities.

Secondly, you have to be realistic about the costs. You can’t just pull numbers out of the air. You cannot budget $500 for the photographer if there isn’t anyone for that price. On the other hand, when you meet with vendors you need to carefully look at what is included in the price. Some vendors give you a really cheap price but it doesn’t include things important to you. Or the quality isn’t what you want. Many times, you will find that the lower price equals lower quality.

The third thing to discuss should be deciding on the type of venue even if you haven’t reserved the exact one. This is often one of the most expensive elements of the wedding budget. At this point some couples start looking at a destination wedding.
You can research destinations and prices online but for many couples this can be overwhelming. If you have not been to the destination are you comfortable picking by a picture and a price?

This is where the experience of a destination wedding travel specialist can really help. A destination wedding specialist has first-hand knowledge of many wedding locations as well as established relationships with vendors at the destination wedding location. For couples who would like to travel to the destination to meet wedding vendors and look at wedding venues in person we have destination wedding tours.

Call Nancy at 1-888-338-0852 for more information on Destination weddings and Destination wedding tours.

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Tidbits and Fun Facts Friday

I enjoyed an article by Monica Poling entitled “Celebrating 100 Years.”

“By all accounts, 1914 was a turbulent time in world history.

The first World War broke out on the European continent and in North America, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata were calling for revolution throughout Mexico.

Despite the world unrest 1914 was also a time of great discovery and innovation.  A particularly significant year in the growth of tourism, the United States witnessed the birth of two new tourism industries that year.

In Florida, former St. Petersburg Mayor Abram Pheil spent $400 ($5000 in today’s currency) to be the first passenger to fly on a commercial air flight, a 23-minute flight between St. Petersburg and Tampa. Florida.

Meanwhile, in Hibbing Minnesota, Carl Erick Wickman used his eight=seat Hupmobile to transport 15 iron miners to a nearby mining town for 15 cents a ride.  The shuttle service, which took place well before the nation adopted a federal highway system, is now considered the first inter-city bus transportation.  Wickman would go on to transform his transportation company into the massive enterprise known as Greyhound bus lines.

Cruise travel also became more lavish in 1914, when Cunard Line’s Aquitania sailed her maiden voyage.  Considered one of the most beautiful liners ever built, she was one of the longest-serving Cunarders in history and the only major liner to serve in both world wars.

The Port of San Francisco

Along the San Francisco waterfront, several buildings were constructed in 1914, including the historic Pier 43 Ferry Arch.  The new Pier 43 Promenade Bay trail project, now under construction, will connect Pier 39 with Taylor Street’s historic crab sellers.  Once complete later this year, it will feature excellent views of the bay and the historic arch.

Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

Some 70 miles south of San Francisco and 40 miles north of Monterey, visitors will find the birthplace of mainland surfing, the city of Santa Cruz.  The city is home to the Santa Cruz Wharf, which is 2. 701 feet, is one of the longest wooden piers in California.  Constructed in 1914, the Municipal Wharf is actually the city’s sixth wharf.  None of the preceding piers could accommodate deep-water sips, so the current one was built with a steamship dock and freight warehouse.  The wharf hosts an estimated 1.5 millions visitors every year, and is featuring centennial celebrations all year long.

Port of Los Angeles

Significant improvements to the Port of Los Angeles in the years prior, including construction of an 8.500-foot section of breakwater, the widening of the main channel and construction of an all-new marine traffic generated by the opening of the Panama Canal.

The city’s movie industry was also in full swing.  Paramount Pictures was founded in Los Angels in 1914, and the “The Squaw Man,” by Cecil B. DeMille, became the first motion picture to be produced in Hollywood by a major film studio.  In Venice, California, Charlie Chaplin rolled out his famed “The Tramp” character.”

This was a great article in Travel Age West Magazine, March 04, 2014 issue.

A tidbit to watch:

*New proposed bill would allow airline ads to exclude government taxes.  This is a good bill to watch.

The bill, The Transparent Airlines Act of 2104,(H.R. 4156), responds to airline carriers that the DOT policy makes fares appear higher than they are, while “masking the excessive federal tax rate on the cost of air travel,” according to Airlines for America, the trade group representing U.S. airlines.


United Airlines is getting tough with passengers with oversized carry-on bags, even sending some of them back to the ticket counter to check their luggage for a fee.  Some passengers have suggested this is for the airlines to make money.  The airlines says it is simply ensuring that compliant passengers have space left for them in the overhead bins.  In recent years, the last passengers have routinely been forced to check their bags at the gate because the overhead bins were already full.

You may have purchased a bag that claims to be “official carry-on size” but you need to check each airlines website because that claim can be misleading.



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posted by admin on Destination Wedding Tour, Destination Weddings, Ireland

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Wedding in Ireland

I conducted a small survey among American brides who had a destination wedding in Ireland.  One of the survey questions was about their challenges planning their wedding.

The top 5 challenges involved planning a wedding without actually visiting Ireland.  The majority of the couples had never visited Ireland.  As one bride stated, “It took a leap of faith.”

1. It was a challenge to plan a wedding without meeting the vendors.  When you meet your vendors in person you know if you click.  It is important to feel that your wedding vendors are sharing in the excitement of your wedding day.

2. It was a challenge to rely on pictures and emails without seeing the venues or locations in person.  We all know through experience that seeing something in person is not the same as looking at a picture.  You cannot feel the expanse or intimacy in a picture.  Many vendors didn’t have a lot of pictures online.

3. Then related to the challenge of not seeing the wedding location was booking hotels sight unseen.  It did cause some stress to have family and friends booking hotels and hoping all was well.

4. We have all looked a magazines with pictures that made your mouth water.  But to plan your reception dinner without sampling any of the dishes was stressful.  As one bride stated, “She didn’t get to taste the cake samples.”

5. Another challenge is making sure you can call and talk to your vendors in person with the time difference.  It depends on what state you live in but Ireland is an 8 hour time difference from California.

By joining our Ireland Destination Wedding Tour in July you can overcome all of these challenges.  You will even attend a mini bridal fair at the shop of our wedding planner in Ennis.  We will take you to see venues in person.

With the availability limited to 10 brides and a companion call Nancy today to reserve your spot.  888-338-0852

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Are you dreaming of a wedding that is truly unique?  Do you want your wedding to stand out from any other wedding that you have ever attended?  Here are 3 ways to have a unique wedding.


A destination wedding will definitely be unique just by location.  While many couples favor a tropical location more and more American couples are choosing Ireland.  In Ireland you are not limited to a beach wedding because there are other unique locations.  You can choose to have your wedding in a castle, a stately manor, a garden, or in a rustic woodland.


Your theme can be anything from simple to elegant and/or a mixture of your favorites.  Some ideas for Ireland are a Celtic wedding, a steampunk wedding, a Downton Abbey wedding, or any theme you like.  You can choose rustic elegance, a re-enactment village, or a traditional wedding.  Then you can blend your theme so you have elegant and whimsical touches that include things you love.  You are really only limited by your imagination and your budget.


For an example, I have worked with couples who had a Mayan themed wedding when they got married in Mexico.

For Ireland you could mix American and Irish cultures.  The groom and groomsmen can wear a kilt in Ireland or Scotland.  Or can you follow a bagpiper from the ceremony to the reception?  For your wedding reception can you include American dishes and dishes from the destination?

It is your day and celebrate in your own unique way.


posted by admin on Airlines, Flights, Travel Tips

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Travel Tips

This winter seems to have been a record for flight delays and cancellations.  Bring your patience with you and a good book!

Plan Ahead:

Start planning ahead at the beginning when you are booking your flight.  Depending on your destination can you make your connection through  a southern city like Miami or Los Angeles?

Since winter weather can change quickly you can check some things in advance.  You can check with your airlines to see if they have a weather waiver that allows you to cancel and rebook your flight without penalty or fees.  This varies from airlines to airlines.  If they allow you to rebook your trip without a fee there will be a window of time that you will have rebook and to complete the trip.  You must keep track of all of this information.

Be Prepared:

What if you are stuck at the airport and have to rebook your flight?  I read online that the lines for the United States callers will be busy.  But if you can call the international number that will more than likely not be busier than usual.   I plan to try this if I am stuck at the airport.

Be prepared for the climate difference between your home and your destination.  For example, when I have clients traveling in winter from the states to Cancun I tell them to put shorts, a tee shirt and sandals in their carry on bag.  Then it is easier to  change in the bathroom at the airport.  The reverse is true if you are traveling from somewhere like California to somewhere that has snow.  It is nice to have thermals, socks, tights or gloves in your carry on bag.  The weather will be more bearable when you walk out of the airport door.

Keep Informed:

Watch the weather at your departure airport, connecting airport, and your final destination.  Your original flight can be delayed if the connecting airport is closed.  It is actually the easiest if your flight is cancelled and you can go back home.

You also need to cancel any hotel or car rentals so that your credit card is not charged.


posted by admin on Destination Weddings, Ireland, Uncategorized

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Irish Castle by river

Ireland is becoming more and more popular for Americans planning a destination wedding. The Emerald Isle is a magical destination with fairytale castles, literary museums and friendly people.

Ireland is an ideal location for first time travelers because of its convenience. It is the first European country we reach when traveling from the United States. Most Americans can easily to Dublin or Shannon in a single day.
Since many couples have family in both Europe as well as the United States. Ireland is the perfect middle ground for these couples. Ireland gives you an opportunity to share a wonderful vacation and celebrate your wedding.
Ease of Communication:

Ireland’s official language in English. Planning your destination wedding in an English speaking country will make it easier to communicate with your wedding planner and other wedding venues.
Not having to deal with the language barrier will give you and your guests the opportunity to explore and experience more of Ireland. If your group has any first time travelers they will find Ireland a wonderful introduction to the world of travel.
Modern Ireland:

Remember Ireland is a modern country. The city of Dublin is urban with parks, shopping and first class restaurants.  If you stay in Dublin you don’t need a car because they have a wonderful bus and subway system.

Wander into a pub that has live music and you will spend a memorable evening.  The Irish are very friendly, so mix that with good food and lively music then you will know the magic of Ireland.

Yes, by having urban cities and a picturesque countryside Ireland has something for everyone.  It is a beautiful place to have your wedding.

If you are struggling to plan your destination wedding in Ireland online?  Join our Ireland destination wedding tour in July.

Call today to learn more at 888-338-0852

Wedding Wednesday


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Bride in her dress on a lawn

Buying Your Wedding Dress

Most of us have watched Say Yes to the Dress.  An important first step when you go shopping for your wedding dress is who your bring with you.  It seems to work out best if you just bring one or two people who understand your style and your wedding dream.  A large group  will not help you have a wonderful experience.  Many times they seem to takeover the day.

Wedding Venue

If you have selected your wedding venue then you will be looking for a dress to complete your wedding dream.  The style of your dress is important with some venues more than others.  A large princess ball gown will make it very hard to walk on the beach if that is your venue.  The shape of your dress as well as the neckline and hemline are all important.


Make sure you have a dress budget that includes your veil, accessories and your dress alternations.  Have a realistic budget.  And you know if you watch Say Yes to the Dress trying on dresses outside your budget can be heartbreaking.  If you find the perfect dress and cannot afford it you will be very disappointed.  Then it will be hard to find another dress because any other dress will seem second best.

The Dress

The fabric and the shape of the dress are important.  This is also why you should  bring the right people with you when you go shopping.  You want them to be helpful.  If you are a tiny girl you may look lost in a large princess ball gown.  You want someone with you that is honest and has supportive ideas.  You don’t want to feel criticized.  Keep in mind the time of year that you are getting married.  A very heavy dress will not be comfortable on a hot summer day.  If you are getting married in winter  look at wraps or even a coat if you want to take pictures outside in the snow.


When should you start shopping?  It is recommended to buy your dress 9 to 12 months before your wedding.  This gives you enough time to order your dress and to have it altered.  It means you have one less thing to worry about.